When you live in Maine, there is so much at your finger tips to enjoy in a place like not many others.
The coast line, the vast woods, the rolling farm fields and all the lakes, wildlife and smaller, but friendlier population of Maine boasts much.
But the option to hop across the border and sample some of Canada is always so easy. Quebec was dubbed New France by the French king and a visit to the old historic sections discovered by Samuel De Champlain is rich in the history that evolved since 1608 when a few toughed it out and the population of Frenchmen and their transported culture ignited.
Made a Memorial Day trip to Quebec City this year and surprised by the different feel of the 7th largest of the Canadian cities.
Partly because of growth and change since the last visit and because most of the prior trips across the Maine border were in February’s celebration of winter carnival. As a kid staying with my three older brothers and parents at the Hotel Frontenac which is one impressive hotel structure. More on Winter Carnival in Quebec City Canada.
The Hotel Frontenac is dubbed one of the most photographed hotels in the World.
Just taking an image of the one and on and up up up sections of it pull you in to her charm. The Canadian Pacific railroad designed it to be a luxury hotel to accommodate the wealthy who make Quebec City a tourism stop. The Chateau Frontenac opened it’s ever expanding lobby doors in 1893.
It takes 318 miles or five hours, twenty minutes to travel from Houlton Maine parked on the US border to travel to Quebec City. That is shorter than the 6.5 hours to Boston MA and with the 25% US dollar advantage over the Canadian loonie, the reasons to make that trip to Quebec or other provinces waving the red maple leaf overhead extra attractive to the wallet.
Taking the Trans Canada from Houlton Maine up through New Brunswick and then cutting a hard left to enter into Quebec is faster sailing than up through Aroostook County.
We zipped up and back that route and it reminded me of all the trips across the border for hockey games because the two boys chased the black puck on the sheet of frozen water.
The large church cathedrals in the Quebec province are impressive and their fine details a sight to behold. The elaborate frescoes, the stained glass, stone and wood work. The the layout of Old Quebec and the building construction styles all add to the richness of a walk up the narrow side hill network of streets.
The history of defending the hill top fortress Fort Saint Jean from attack, the walking tours of today work up an appetite for the French cuisine.
Sample a Norwegian or Eggs Benedict omelet while in Quebec City Canada where you order in French. French in Maine is the second most spoken language in the state’s of ME and VT. Over 22% of Aroostook County residents speak French.
Touring the fertile fields in the Ile D’orleans farm section, an island in the St Lawrence seaway just outside Quebec City.
And returning across the bridge, veer right to get a little exercise. Bring a rain jacket and hike up the network of stairs around Montmorency Falls. Where the brave strap on, attach their bodies to zip across the water falls by a fast cable ride that has a picnic area, playground on top to make it family friendly. The elevation offers the views of the area 7.5 miles from Quebec City.
Sample All Vacationland has to offer. Come to Maine, whenever you can. But make it a two nation vacation with our Canadian neighbors eh? The French Acadian culture, the history of the Atlantic Provinces of Canada are waiting to meet and greet.
And visitors to Canada are invited to cross the US International border to see what Maine has to offer. Maine is one big state and borders lots of Canada because we are so far north some say we should be “over home”.
Make a date to check out and collect Canadian tourist spots as you do the same in your sampling of Maine. I joke that Mainer’s are at least a third Canadian because of the cross border family connections.
My Dad’s Mom was 100% Canadian being born and brought up in Burtt’s Corner in New Brunswick Canada. Her maiden name was Burtt. As a traveler, bring you pass port but know you can easily hop back and worth to weave the best of both countries. Maine, Canada, where each side of the border has family ties and a deep connection from our long, fond historic roots.
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